Metallic finishing of materials, unlike non‐metallic finishing, comprises various popular surface modification processes, e.g. electroplating, conversion coating, anodizing, metal spraying, hot dip coating and also diffusion coatings. Diffusion coatings on metallic substrates are well known for their better abrasion resistance and adhesion to the substrate. Resistance to corrosion may also be incorporated on these surfaces by the addition of appropriate dopant elements like Cr, Ni and Al. However, these diffusion alloy‐layers are more sought after for functional properties than their aesthetic look. It appears that the concept of functional metal finishing is gaining ground for its longer service‐life and better performance. Discusses some of these aspects of diffusion alloy coatings on mild steel substrate and analyses their comparative merits and demerits. In this connection, three distinctly different types of barrier layers, namely, hard diffusion alloy layer, e.g. chromiding, Ni‐Cr diffusion coatings and soft‐diffusion layer, e.g. Pb‐Cd, Zn‐Sn barriers and those in between, e.g. hot dip zinc‐alloy coated barrier layers, have been highlighted for their corrosion resistance properties.
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